• Glowing sunset view from overlook - Photo by Jason Barnett Photography

    Big South Fork

    National River & Recreation Area KY,TN

Whitewater Paddling

Angel Falls a Class IV whitewater rapids in Big South Fork River.
Angel Falls is a Class IV rapids located on the Big South Fork River.
An Chuck Summers
 

The Big South Fork of the Cumberland River and its main tributaries, the Clear Fork, North White Oak and New River offer visitors a variety of whitewater paddling opportunities. While on the river you may still see the results of previous agricultural, mining and logging practices, the land today has a quality of wildness with limited access and sparse development.

Paddling can be a dangerous sport in certain stretches of the rivers in Big South Fork. Some stretches may be ideal for beginners, while other sections should be attempted only by highly skilled paddlers with the proper equipment. There are streams which can be floated during any time of the year while others have enough water for boating only during seasons with sufficient rainfall.

The river is a dynamic system which changes constantly. Expect the unexpected for conditions change quickly. The following links will provide you with information which will help you to plan a safe and enjoyable paddling trip in the Big South Fork.

Additional information on paddling in the Big South Fork and on commercial outfitters is available at either park visitor center.

 

Chris Arp, a local paddler from Knoxville Tennessee has filmed several paddling trips down the Big South Fork River. View the clips of the groups adventures down the river and through Double Falls Rapids (45 seconds), Washing Machine (11 seconds) and The Ell (40 seconds). Together these rapids are refered to as "The Big Three".

 
 

Did You Know?

Park interpreter presents program on Longhunters.

Longhunters were some of the first Europeans to traverse the Big South Fork region. It is said they were called longhunters either for the long rifles they carried or because the were typically gone on hunting trips for so long, sometimes up to a year.